Gang rape of men 'seldom by gays'

WHEN A 19-year-old hairdresser was raped by three men on Hampstead Heath in London last week the reports were predictable. 'A Gay Gang Rapes Boy,' said the Sun. 'The rape is the eighth indecent assault by homosexuals in the capital since April,' said the Daily Express.

However, many experts believe that such attacks were probably carried out by heterosexuals as a perverse form of 'gay-bashing'.

By raping someone they think is homosexual, the attackers are able to express both their hatred of gays and their sexual aggression, according to Gillian Mezey, a psychiatrist at St George's Hospital, south London, who specialises in treating both male and female rape victims.

Researchers believe, however, that most sex attacks on males occur within relationships or as 'date rapes', where the assailant is known by the victim. Here the rapist is likely to be gay.

Dr Mezey, co-author of Male Victims of Sexual Assault, believes that gang attacks are motivated by the desire to humiliate and dominate. She said that in some cases rapists have told victims they are being assaulted because they are gay. 'This type of rapist frequently has a history of violent anti-social behaviour and in a perverse way they want to prove their sexuality.'

She draws a comparison with rape in prison. 'There is a clear group of men who, although they lead a heterosexual life outside, regard themselves as very macho and see the aggressive act of penetrating another person as something manly.'

Harvey Milnes, a counsellor for Survivors, a support group for male victims of sexual attacks, agrees. 'I would think that 99 per cent of all rapes committed in public are perpetrated by heterosexual men. Imagine the power a man feels degrading and humiliating a woman or a child and think how much more power they would feel doing it to a man.'

The scale of the problem is still unknown. Welfare organisations believe that as many as nine in 10 attacks are not reported. In a study in 1989, only two out of 22 men who claimed to have been raped had gone to the police.

The Metropolitan Police investigated 30 offences of non-consensual buggery against adult males in the year to last April. Fear, humiliation and shock deter many men from reporting rape. Others believe they will be criminalised and heterosexuals will be branded as homosexuals.

The legal system also appears to act as a deterrent. Male rape does not exist as a criminal offence under British law; the assaults are recorded as non-consensual buggery. Convicted rapists can be imprisoned for life, whereas buggery carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. Men also run the risk of having their names published during court cases, unlike women, who are guaranteed anonymity.

The perception by some people of police officers as homophobic also plays a part in non- reporting. The Metropolitan Police has tried to alter this image by piloting a support unit for male rape victims. However, since it was opened in March it has dealt with only four cases.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test